Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kokomo's Victory Bike Shop

Victory Bike Shop on N. Washington St just shy of Jefferson St.

I love it when local businesses survive being assimilated or obliterated by the national big box chains. This little shop having survived the last few years of a staggering economy and the domination of the Walmart and Target bicycle departments is indeed a Victory.

For most of my life this business was located on Sycamore St. just off the downtown square, and had been run by gentleman first class, Charles Sullivan. He was a man from another era. He always wore leather shoes and a dress shirt to work.

When Victory moved to its new home on N. Washington in the same building as Bob's Pawn, I wondered if the business had moved in name only.

Some of it is the same; display cases for one. I'd peered droolingly into those wood-framed glass cases as a little boy, ogling balsa rockets, slot cars and scads of bike accessories.

The digs are new and crisp. Clean slat-wall displays, a computer atop the ancient counter, and carpeting.

The personnel is both the same and different. Dave runs the shop. No leather shoes. No dress shirt. Casual. Cycling pants and shoes, depending on the day. 

But Dave is a Victory guy in the best (Charles Sullivan) sense of the word. He's easy going; no pressure. "See something you like? Just take her for a spin!"

He's taking the phrase customer service off the oxymoron list. He wants the customer to be happy. He wants to service what he sells. He appreciates that the money one puts down to buy a bike didn't come easy.

He's warmly colorful. "Look, I had a bad accident and hit my head a few years ago so if I space out or start the same story again, just tell me." Dave is a good-hearted man providing great local service in a faceless franchised world.

Their main bike brands are Specialized, Cannondale, KHS, Fuji and Eastern. They stock a surprising amount of inventory for a modest-sized shop. And their prices are as good, usually better, than shops in Indianapolis.

If you're thinking about a new bike, consider Dave and his crew at Victory Bike Shop. And if it's been a while since you've been on a bike, the new technology and comfort has come a long way over the years.

Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-4
509 N. Washington St. Kokomo IN.